Charlie Park

Stepping Away From Twitter

I recently noticed an interesting pattern.

On days when I’m on Twitter, my ability to focus and get good work done falls off a cliff.

It’s not just “when you read Twitter first-thing in the day”, something I’ve heard people discuss. It was that I was on Twitter at all.

I think there are a few things going on with this.

First, I want to be liked. If I post something on Twitter, it’s pretty common for me to check back in on that tweet several times, hoping for someone to favorite or retweet it.

Second, I want to find interesting friends. If someone favorites or retweets my tweet, I usually click through to find out more about them. Or if I’m reading my feed and one of you retweets something from someone interesting, I often click through to find out more about your friends. Maybe they’ll be my friend, too!

Third, I want to stay in the loop. It’s incredibly easy to rationalize this: I need to stay on top of the latest technologies; I need to know what’s happening in different startups; I need to know about what’s going on in the wider world. In truth, though, the important things will still find their way to me, via channels other than Twitter.

Fourth, I want to be entertained. Much of the stuff that comes across my feed is interesting and funny. What? New trailer for The Martian? Great! A video of Amy Schumer being funny? Bring it! New XKCD strip? That’ll just take a second! And yet, it never does.

I took a break from Twitter for a few weeks earlier this year. It felt really good. I felt like I was getting more and better work done.

And then, really easily, I fell back into Twitter. It was natural. After all, who doesn’t want to be liked, have friends, and be informed and entertained?

But I noticed that my work suffered.

So I’ve taken a break again, this time for the rest of June. We’ll see how it goes.

Here’s hoping for more and better work getting done.